Winter veggies

Oddly enough, we get some of our best veggies in the winter ~ 

Weekly veggiesFor the second winter in a row, we’re participating in a CSA (community supported agriculture). From a practical point of view, CSAs win out over traditional grocery stores: I get to order my food online, receive it door-front every Saturday and spend way less money than I would in the grocery store. (Our produce bill adds up to about $30 a week for the entire winter – January till end of March.) Plus, we are forced to plan a menu, which is automatically chock full of vitamins and minerals. It’s also fun to sample exotic (to us) veggies we didn’t know about before. Surely, you didn’t miss that terrifying looking growth front and center (romanesca). Just in case, here ya go again ~

RomanescaPart of the cruciferous family, romanesca is somewhere between broccoli and cauliflower, in everything from shape, to consistency, to color. We stir fried it last week with our winter broccoli. Not only was it deliciously sweet, but it also stood up well to being cooked. To try this week are rutabagas, which I plan to mash, similar to last winter’s since perfected mashed turnips. What veggies do you use during the cold months?


Easy mashed turnips recipe

Quickie post to start off the week, les amis. I don’t know how many of you participate in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), but I cannot recommend it enough, that is if you find a good one in your area. I suppose that means a bit of risk taking since you invest for an entire season, but after chatting with farmers at the Baltimore Farmer’s Market all summer, we felt most comfortable going with Zahradka Farm, located just south of Baltimore in Essex. I wanted to take eating fresh and local into the winter and so far it has been a smashing success! Here are the pros of CSA membership:

-less grocery-store attendance
-fresh produce delivered to your door
-forced innovation to your cooking
-warm fuzzies knowing you’re supporting a local business

Here are the cons

-well…quite frankly I haven’t found any yet!

It’s a bit late to join for the winter, but give it a think for the spring and summer, when the produce options will really abound. If you’re not sure whom to go with in your area, ask around at the markets when they open back up early spring and talk to other customers if possible.

Tonight’s a quiet night and I enjoyed mashed turnips with grated parmesan as well as sauteed field onions with sweet winter cabbage. Yum!

I confess this picture is not mine (I gobbled mine up before I thought about photographing)

but it gives you a good idea of what those purply bulbs will look like once mashed. Here’s all I did for a healthy vegetarian dinner:

I brought about 4 cups of water to a boil and added my washed, peeled and diced turnips. I allowed them to cook in the water until they were soft when poked with a knife.

Then I strained the turnips and had fun mashing them up with a fork, adding a bit of butter, kosher salt, ground pepper and sauteed onions. The recipe that inspired me in Real  Simple is in the February issue on stands now. It’s not online but the site remains a great resource for quick and easy dinner. They called for bacon as well but since D was out this evening, I decided to forego the meat.

I highly recommend this healthy dish as a satisfying alternative to mashed potatoes. You may want to be a bit liberal with the salt (taste depending) since turnips have a sweeter taste than you might expect. Bon appetit !